Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Celtic View

I met a delightful man named Hans this morning on a walk I had on a nature trail. I had stopped in my tracks to pay attention to the hum of energy that the birds and wild life had created in that little corner of the world. Our poignant conversation about life, death, and the current state of the Earth reminded me of the Celtic view of death that I share with people sometimes. I've heard it said that the Celts say that a person needs to die before they die, so that when they die they don't have to die! In other words, if we can overcome our fears around death and truly know "in our bones" that there is much more than meets the eye on this precious earth, then when we are actually dying, we will be convicted that there is another chapter of life ahead of us. The need to tense up around the so-called end of life could be eliminated.

This way of embracing death is reminiscent of the wise woman who inspired the title of my book. I met her early on in my hospice work, a woman who'd lived through great challenges in her life and who was now living through the end-stages of lung cancer. She said to me one day, after giving up eating any food (although she kept the fluids and oxygen going), "I'm looking forward to the last adventure of life." Wow, I thought at that time, if only everyone could have this attitude toward the next chapter of life!

How do you view your life, death, and life-after-life? Can you see any possibility of seeing the end of life as a new adventure in living? I pray for all of us, that our "inner eyes" can see and our "inner ears" hear what is available for the seeing, hearing, and believing! May our lives be enriched and en-couraged as we face with openness and trust, the mystery of death -- which may not be as scary as we think it is, after all...